SOCIAL HOUSING: CRACKING DOWN ON ANTI-SOCIAL AND ILLEGAL BEHAVIOUR

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the introduction of legislation in the State Parliament today to reform social housing to crack down on anti-social and illegal behaviour.

Mr Marshall said that the legislation was developed to make social housing across the state safer, better and stronger.

“Before the March election, the government promised to crack down on anti-social and illegal behaviour in social housing,” Mr Marshall said.

The legislation includes:
• Introducing a One Strike policy for those who seriously breach their tenancy agreement, so that the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal must terminate a tenancy where it is proven that the individual has committed certain serious criminal offences including serious drug offences;
• Implementing a Three Strikes policy so that Family and Community Services officials can issue a Notice of Termination if a tenant has received three Breach of Tenancy Agreement notices in a 12 month period;
• Introducing confidential Neighbourhood Impact Statements so that neighbours are protected from recriminations; and
• Changes to increase the likelihood that tenants who fraudulently claim a rental subsidy pay the money back by classifying the debt as rent arrears. If they do not pay, they can be evicted.

“In addition, the government will introduce twelve month probationary leases for public housing tenancies of two years or longer,” he said. “We want to ensure social housing is a safe and positive environment for people and families.

“The vast majority of public housing tenants are law abiding and responsible citizens who want to live in a safe environment.

“Sadly, anti-social and illegal behaviour hurts good tenants and neighbours. It also pulls resources away from more important investments in social housing like building more homes.

“A recent survey of public housing tenants found the majority of tenants think that anti-social behaviour is a problem.

“Each year, Family and Community Services takes cases of illegal and anti-social behaviour to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

“The Tribunal has declined to terminate the tenancies in a number of these cases even where the tenant has been charged or convicted of a serious criminal offence.”

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